Water from sand dams and shallow wells breathe new life into a small Kenyan community and their land...

Athiani self-help group is found in Athiani village of Mtito Andei division in Makueni County. The group was formed with the main objective of working together to improve water access and food security in an area which has been predominantly dry receiving little rainfall coupled with long dry spells.

It is in this quest that Excellent Development in collaboration with partners, the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF), has been supporting the group in the implementation of life changing projects all geared towards improved lives for members and the community at large.

The group has achieved success in various areas, changed things over the years, achieved the implementation targets and has plans for the future despite facing challenges in their quest for glory.

"Water from the sand dams has also been utilised in vegetable farming; bringing food security and income through the sale of surplus. This is a milestone achievement which only existed in our dreams."

Ruth Mutuku, chairlady of Athiani self-help group.

Ruth Mutuku, 46, serves as the chairlady, she opens up on group activities and progress over the years: "Access to clean drinking water has been greatly bolstered by the construction of shallow wells which provide us with water all year round, this has reduced the distance and time taken in search of water previously."

George Maweu, 66, hails from Athiani village and understands the extent of change that came with implementation of water projects in the locality. "The construction of sand dams in our village came with unprecedented change, cattle get water from within and the environment generally looks green. Terracing and tree planting projects also improved our yields" says Mr Maweu.

He adds: “Water from the sand dams has also been utilised in vegetable farming; bringing food security and income through the sale of surplus. This is a milestone achievement which only existed in our dreams."

Rita Muteti, 43 has been at the center of the group’s activities, witnessing all major milestones, she says it has required strong resilience in overcoming the challenges encountered. "The challenge of long dry periods has led to some of the trees planted drying up as well as low harvests in our farms. Again, working in the construction sites was a hard task especially for us women as it was manual labor" says Mrs Muteti.

The group remains strong with future plans in place to guide its operations.

"We remain focused on implementing more water, food and income security projects that will better the lives of our members and the community at large" says Mrs Mutuku.

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